College of Engineering hosts second annual Engineering Equity Summit


By Sarah Small

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State College of Engineering’s Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion hosted its second annual Engineering Equity Summit on April 2 in the Hammond Building at University Park and virtually.  

More than 60 students, faculty, staff and industry professionals attended the event, which was organized by the College of Engineering, the Penn State College of Engineering Diversity Roundtable (DRT) and a variety of engineering student organizations. This year’s theme was mentorship. 

“Mentorship is something most people do not understand the value of and how those types of relationships can change the trajectory of your career or personal life,” said Summer Walker, a rising third year undergraduate majoring in electrical engineering and a DRT facilitator. “Bringing light to mentorship relationships and mentorship programs was really the end goal of the Equity Summit. I hope all who attended left reflecting on their own mentor-mentee relationships or are now willing to seek a mentor. It is never too late or too early to start seeking those bonds.” 

The event included breakout sessions on gender equality, disabilities in STEM, maintaining authenticity while pursuing mentorship in academia and a workshop on developing an effective networking strategy. A panel of engineering professionals from Chevron, Twitter, Lockheed Martin Space and more discussed mentorship and career.  

Wilbur C. Milhouse, III, chairman and chief executive officer of Milhouse Engineering & Construction Inc., gave the keynote address, followed by a Q&A. 

“Mr. Milhouse focused on a number of topics that really set the foundation of what was to come for the rest of the Engineering Equity Summit,” said Aaron Mattingly, assistant director of the Multicultural Engineering Program. “From his own perspective, he laid out what diversity, equity and inclusion means to engineers and showed us how he channeled those principles while creating one of the most outstanding — and largest African American owned — engineering firms in the U.S., Milhouse Engineering & Construction Inc. In speaking about how he ran his firm, Mr. Milhouse highlighted the central theme of the summit, mentorship, and how important it is to foster a community that sees one another as team members and not just employees.” 

According to both Mattingly, Walker and several participants, the second annual equity summit was a success. 

The Engineering Equity Summit is much more than a summit: It’s an experience and an opportunity to grow,” said Sybil Owusu-Bempah, a rising fourth year undergraduate majoring in biomedical engineering and a DRT facilitator. “Seeing faculty, staff, students and alumni come together to learn more about relevant topics related to equity was inspiring. 

While a topic for next year is not yet determined, Walker said that she and other DRT facilitators are already looking forward to planning the 2023 event.  


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